Note: This article is intended for people living on a public water supply. If you live on a private supply, please contact a certified water specialist.
Home water treatment systems take many forms, from your basic water pitcher filter to an extensive whole house system. When you begin to navigate through these options, it is important to consider your specific household needs, such as its size, layout, and local geology.
This four-step guide will assist you in finding a water treatment system for your home and provide clues to look for as you make your selection.
1) Identify: What's wrong with your water?
Figure out your primary concerns to help you discover the source of your problem, and ultimately the best water treatment solution for it. Some water problems are easily detectable by the senses. Does your water have a bad chlorine taste and smell? Is there a cloudy, limey residue left on your shower door? Are there stains on your freshly laundered clothes? Has there been a boil water advisory or lead concerns in your area?
Many people simply want to ensure their drinking water is safe, free of the contamination that we can’t detect with our senses. Others see the importance of returning water to its pure, natural state.
2) Discover: What's in Your Water?
Once you have listed your pain points, we recommend that you find out what is in your water. Start by checking out your local water quality report, also known as “Consumer Confidence Reports” (CCRs) located on the EPA’s website.
We strongly advise that you conduct a water test. Some water tests only require that you send in samples of water to a certified, independent laboratory for even more accurate results. Here are a few examples of what you can learn from a water test:
- Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
- Lead Concentrations
- Radioactivity (Radon)
- Bacteria and Pathogens (Legionella, E. Coli, Giardia)
- Water hardness
TIP: Once you do install your water treatment solution, you may choose to continue monitoring your water so that you can detect any changes and adjust your system accordingly.
3) Decide: What is the Exact Application?
Determining the exact application of your water treatment solution is a very important step. For instance, if you simply want purified drinking water but don’t mind the general conditions of your entire home, then you may be able to settle for a much smaller system than someone looking to eliminate any potential for lead or iron.
There are many ways to treat water; each one depends on the desired solution. Perhaps you want the purest, safest drinking water, or you may want chlorine-free water for your entire home. Each of these will require a different water treatment method for your home.
In the water filtration world, we often break down options into two categories:
- Point of Entry (POE)
POE systems are utilized for all the potable water in your home and are often a good choice if you have water problems that are either affecting your appliances or have a pervasive odor. Some common examples of POE systems include water softeners, salt-free conditioners and carbon filter systems.
- Point of Use (POU)
POU systems vary in format and can be used for drinking water or for showers and dishwashers. A few examples of POU systems include reverse osmosis, shower filters, countertop filters and water distillers.
Remember that POE and POU home water treatment systems are not necessarily employed exclusively of one another. You may be utilizing a softener for your entire home in addition to a reverse osmosis system under your kitchen sink for drinking water.
4) Consider: How Much Water Do You Expect to Consume?
To select the appropriate size of your filtration system, consider how much water you expect to use. The size of your household will be the greatest determining factor, but also think about how frequently you host guests. This step is straightforward, but nonetheless important in finding the right water treatment approach for your household.
Systems are all sized differently, and your filter replacement schedule will be dictated primarily by your usage. Be mindful of your use, as exhausted filters may fail to deliver clean water and leak trapped material back into your water supply.